Thursday, 20 September 2012

a comment about employment and being gainfully employed

Here's a comment I've just made on a blog post :

"Although I don’t like the term ‘mental illness’ or the fact that governments have hijacked ‘recovery’, I would be concerned about a move to force people off benefits and into paid work. This is happening where I live at present. Under the guise of benefits assessments and employment initiatives. 

For years and years psychiatry has been telling people that they have a lifelong mental illness that requires lifelong medication and that they won’t be able to do paid work. Now that we’re in a recession the economic pressures mean that the mantra is changing. The topsy turvy world of mental health.

Those of us who are able to do paid work shouldn’t be putting pressure on others who are not able to do paid work. People can be gainfully employed without being organisationally employed. Voluntary/charity work is beneficial. Helping in our communities, helping our neighbour. It might not mean getting a pay check but it can be making a difference to many lives.

Excuse the rant but I do get fed up with the idea that if we’re not earning money then we’re not doing anything useful with our lives. I have always worked voluntarily, I’m nearly 60 now. And now I mostly do voluntary work, many hours a week writing and campaigning, going to meetings, trying to bring about improvements to mental health/psychiatric services and hopefully even a transformation.

Let’s not go on about people on benefits/social security. Rather let us go on about the psychiatric system, about government and about injustice for the marginalised."

And then in an Email accompanying the comment:

"I really do hope that we're not going to join with governments in hounding people off benefits/social security and into 'work'.  Some of us are working tirelessly to change the system, without getting paid to do it.  I know of many others in Scotland who might be on 'benefits' but who are doing their bit for society and to improve mental health matters."

Rant over. 

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